Sunday, November 01, 2009

Tips For Getting Started With Twitter

@stevegarfield you are hilariously awesome. thanks.

My good friend Scott Kirsner wrote an article about twitter for the Boston Globe, The tweet cheat sheet, but the online version has NO LINKS, as usual for the Boston Globe, and doesn't provide the twitter usernames mentioned in the column.

Here are links to everyone mentioned in the article and my additional tips for you to get started with twitter.

People mentioned in the article with links to them on twitter
Laura Fitton - (@pistachico on Twitter), a local entrepreneur and author of the recent book Twitter For Dummies [Amazon Link].
Chris Brogan - (@chrisbrogan on Twitter), president of New Marketing Labs.
Joanne Chang - ( @jbchang on twitter), Meyers + Chang, ( meyersandchang on twitter), Flour Bakery.
Ellen DeGeneres - (@TheEllenShow on twitter)
John Mayer - (@JohnCMayer on twitter)
Oprah - (@Oprah on twitter)
Shaquille O’Neal - (@The_Real_Shaq on twitter)

Scott Kirsner (@scottkirsner on Twitter), his Innovation Economy Blog.

Use Your Own Name
Sign up for Twitter at

Pick your own name as your username. Own your name on the web. It helps people find you on different sites and maintains your personal brand.

Use the Website
Use the website. It's easy to use and not intimidating.

Twitter Applications
Laura Fitton recommends Twhirl for a desktop computer.
Note that Twhirl was purchased by Seesmic and rolled into Seesmic Desktop.

UberTwitter for BlackBerry
Tweetie for iPhone and Macintosh.

Use A Period in Front of Direct Messages
People use @ to refer to other Twitter users. When you use and @username to refer to another user, only that user and those people who are following that user will see that tweet. Put a "." in front of the @username or put the @username inside the body of the tweet is you want all your followers to see it.

Example of username embedded within the post.

Everyone following @kirstinbutler will see this.

Use twitter Lists to Find People to Follow
Twitter just implemented lists. If you go to a users profile page you'll see lists of people grouped together. This is rolling out for all users shortly. For example, go to Robert Scoble's page and look over his lists. The are listed in the right hand sidebar. You can click 'Follow this list' to have the list in your own side bar, or you can selectively click on people in his list and click them to follow them individually.

Here's his most popular list right now:

Note: If you can't see the list, twitter hasn't enabled your account with lists yet. They will. Be patient.

If you want to repost exactly what someone else has tweeted, retweet it.

Retweeting is for taking EXACTLY what the other person said and reposting it.

Three Steps to Re-Tweeting
Step 1: Copy and Paste their tweet into the text entry area on twitter.
Step 2: Add 'RT' to the front of the tweet
Step 3: Add @theirusername of the person who originally made the tweet.
If you want to comment, do so outside the retweet. Either at the beginning or end, and make it clear that what you are saying is not part of the retweet. Use something like, [Cool] RT @theirusename Blah, blah, blah... I had a sandwich. LOL.


Twitter will be making this easier in the near future.

Retweet Yourself - Re-Run
If you retweet yourself, just add RR to the front of the tweet.

It looks silly to have a tweet with yur name in there twice.
stevegarfield RT: @stevegarfield Hi Mom!


RR: Hi Mom!
If you want to rewrite someone's tweet, you can do that, but instead of RT at the front of the tweet, put (via @theirusername) at the end.

Note: Lots of twitter clients have re-tweeting built in.

Be Yourself, At a Bar
Be yourself on twitter, just make sure you don't spam people or get repetitive with calls for people to go to your website to buy something. Think of twitter as a bar where everyone is standing around chatting with each other. Every tweet doesn't have to be a masterpiece, but keep it interesting so people will want to follow you.

Follow me on twitter at @stevegarfield

Have some twitter tips, suggested people or lists to follow? Add them in the comments. Thanks!

Disclosure: I'm an investor in Seesmic.

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